Job 1:13-22 Trust

It may have been the case that Job might have perceived the terrible news that follows, with four witnesses confirming the validity of the events, that it was due to something his children had thought or did that was against God’s law which led to the terrible news. The book opened with the topic of Job’s concern about this very possibility, cursing God, that offered sacrifices and prayers as God law demanded for any sins committed. However, the second part of chapter one refutes this, in that the LORD permitted these events to show his grace in Job’s life, in that he chose not to curse God.

With enemy onslaughts (13-15, 17), alternating with so-called ‘natural’ events, such as fire and wind, or so-called ‘acts of God’ (16, 18-19), Job responds as one who knows that God is sovereign in both kinds of calamity. He humbled himself and was moved to worship, not to cursing as Satan had claimed he would. “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (22) Instead, Job utters the profound testimony of one who trusted in his sovereign LORD – for good or ill (21). All of life is a gift from God. Who can charge God with wrong doing, when we do not earn these blessings anyway?

Job 1:6-12 Satan’s Mission, And The LORD’s Grace.

Job 1:6-12 Satan’s Mission, And The LORD’s Grace.

Job, as a writing prophet, is taken to the throne of heaven, where the angels and Satan are also summoned (6). God knew where Satan had been, but others, including ourselves, need to know. He was also forced to bear witness to his work while roaming the earth (7). He confessed His enmity toward the LORD, and thus also against his servant Job. The LORD speaks here as the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD, so that we are to understand that Job was “blameless and upright”, fearing God and shunning evil, because he was the object of God’s grace. Satan knew that Job had been blessed with unmerited favour (9-10). Satan suggests that Job was the man he was because God also blessed him with great wealth and peace. 

It is as though Satan is forgetting his high and lofty position before he rebelled, and yet conscious of forever remaining the LORD’s defeated enemy (Is. 14:12-15; Lk. 10:18). Satan stated that if all this blessing were taken from Job that he would return God’s blessings with cursing (11). In other words, he suggests that Job was better than him, in that Satan cursed God while in his high position. He suggests that Job would, like himself, do so to the LORD’s face. However, Satan was destined for reprobation, while Job was not. Satan only had such limited power as God let him exercise (12a). Satan lived, and still lives, to seek to challenge the faith even of God’s elect, but only as he is sent from the presence of the LORD (12b).

Phil. 4:21-23 Greet Every Saint.

With the biblical church, every member of the body is a saint, and we are called to greet all as members of the same family (21). There ought to be no barriers to acceptance of one and all those who believe and live the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The members of Caesars household were the most highly esteemed in that society, yet Paul notes that they made a deliberate move to greet one and all (22). In this simple way we show that membership, and our treatment of each other, is all of grace (23).

Phil. 4:14-20 Fruit of Glory.

Paul commends the Philippians for participating with him in the work of the gospel, when no one else did. He was more happy for this fruit in their lives than the fruit itself, because it was evidence of the genuineness of their faith (14-16). It was help, not for his wants, but for his necessities (17). We do well to remember both things – giving to others for their necessities or needs. Paul called what he received, and from what they did, as “a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (18) In turn, Paul was confident that God the Father would supply all their needs, “according to the riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” (19). The Father supplies all our needs from his throne of the glory-presence, where Jesus is at his right hand (Ps. 110, Heb. 1:3). “Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2) Reigning sovereignly from his glory-presence is an eternal reality – without beginning, end, or interruption. Amen.

Phil. 4:10-13 Flourishing?

Paul learned to be content in every situation, but here he tells the saints that he rejoiced to receive their help, mainly because it showed that they were true believers (10-12). We are called upon to help each other, as we have opportunity, something the so-called church never does today. The ‘opportunity’ is only after a spouse, 2.5 kids headed for college or university, the latest vehicles and toys, and then not even enough to pay a pastor a comparable wage. If the biblical example is to be our guide, then I have never been more convinced than ever, that the vast majority who call themselves Christians, and attend church, even evangelical and reformed ones, are fake. I am learning to follow Paul, to “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (13) I also find the current population of those giving every sign of being reprobates, especially within the so-called evangelical and ‘reformed’ fold frightening, especially those of my own physical blood, and ‘family ties’. I do not concern myself with the mainline obvious synagogues of Satan.

Job 1:1-5 Fear God.

Much stems from a proper fear of God, perhaps the most well-known being wisdom (Pr. 1:7, 9:10). It is certainly wise, from a biblical perspective, to shun evil, seeking to be “blameless and upright.” (1 cf. Pr. 16:6) He had seven sons and three daughters (2), and much wealth, “so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (3) Lest there be those who construe these beginning verses as somehow proving salvation by works, the verses that follow, and are clearly connected to the above, make abundantly clear that Job believed in Salvation by grace through faith alone, that atonement was and is necessary, through the shedding of blood according as the Lord has prescribed (5 cf. 42:8). Job knew that we all can have sins in our hearts that we suppress and become ignorant of, and these need atonement for our sanctification, even as the overt ones we are conscious of.

Phil. 4:8-9 Meditate On These Things And Do Them.

“Whatever things are true.” (8a) Post-moderns would have us accept the relativism that truth is purely subjective, and that which prevails does so from a position of power alone, and not objective veracity. Jesus faced the most powerful man in his sphere, from a human standpoint, and also taking a pagan approach Pilate asked what he must have thought was a rhetorical question: “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38) Ironically it is a question which came in the context of whether or not Jesus admitted to being a king, but Pilate actually speaking the truth that he found “no fault in Him at all.” The scriptures claim to be infallibly objectively true, and the one foundational norm for thought and life, and it is truth that we are called upon to speak (II Sam. 7:28; Mt. 22:16; Eph. 4:25).

“Whatever things are noble.” (8b) The name of Jesus is the most noble of all – worthy of honour. Whatever is true is also noble, thus the scriptures are also noble, and they help us to define what is noble. The same may be thought of justice, and what is pure, lovely, and “of good report.” (8cdef) “If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (8ghi) There is perhaps no verse in scripture requiring more cross-referencing word studies than this one. Each word Paul used here speaks volumes. In the scriptures we learn what is good and virtuous, stemming as they do from God’s own character, and so for this reason alone are praiseworthy. No one can better flourish in life than to meditate on the word that God has given, and see and govern all of one’s life by it.

Paul, and the Spirit through Paul, is not content with meditation alone, as we are to put the above things into practice (9a). The truth is something that can be learned, but not everyone receives it. Some live in sin seeking to suppress it (cf. Rom. 1:18). Again, many hear it, and even see it demonstrated by the regenerate elect, like Paul, but it is also necessary to follow such examples and be “doers of the word and not hearers only.” (Js. 1:22) Those who only read or hear, but refuse to repent and by the other gift of faith to live it, are living a life of self-deception. Only the regenerate, who by the Spirit evidence his fruit in living according to God’s word, will have a true and lasting peace (9b). With minds renewed by the word, our lives are transformed forever (Rom. 12:1-2).

Phil. 4:4-7 Rejoice!

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice!” (4 cf. I Th. 5:16-18) Not many can say that they suffered like Paul, but the Lord sustained him throughout it all, and since it was for the Lord, he rejoiced that this was the case. He did not rejoice in suffering per se, either as a masochist or a sadist. It was always “in the Lord.” We should also note that being ‘in Christ’ was paramount for Paul, as we come and rejoice also in the Father and the Spirit ‘in’ Him. It is the Lord, through the indwelling of the Spirit, that we are able to be gentle toward all people – even our enemies. The Lord is always “at hand.” (5 cf. 4:1 and II Cor. 10:1) 

“Be anxious for nothing.” (6a cf. Mt. 6:25) I think that it is possible to misunderstand these words. As one who has physiological reasons for what we call ‘anxiety’, which can and should be addressed medicinally, I believe what Paul is referring to gets to the spiritual core of who we are in Christ. Of course, if we pray according to God’s will in his word, we have every assurance that he will answer to our needs, provided we add thanksgiving (6b). The latter shows that we understand where our help ultimately comes from. It is not the absence of struggles or suffering, but peace in the midst of all circumstances (7a cf. Jn. 14:27). 

Through thanksgiving we can have his peace. “Surpassing all understanding” is Paul’s way of saying that it comes by revelation, and not by our imaginations (7b). Certainly, it includes the whole person – body and soul, emotions but also mind. In fact, it is this revelatory knowledge which guards our “hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (7c) Having noted this, it is nevertheless true that we often do not understand why we are going through certain struggles or sufferings when we are in the midst of them, and we can still have this peace, especially during these times, if we place all our trust in Him.

Phil. 4:2-3 Of One Mind For The Gospel.

It is important for any team to be of one mind, and so Paul implores both Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind. The one main objective was the propagation of the gospel, in word and deed. Without a singleness of mind the work would not prosper. If we are all written in the Book of Life for all eternity, then we ought to be united together in this chief purpose of the church militant’s mission.

Phil. 3:17-4:1 Following a Biblical Pattern.

Despite the fact that Paul was aware that he was not yet perfect, acknowledging this reality, but also of the power of God at work in his life, he set himself as an example for his audience to follow. From before he was born, God knew all this, including his conversion and call to the ministry of the word. No man other than Jesus is perfect in this life, but we should be examples for how we deal with this reality – as Peter also concurs, growing “in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Pet. 3:18) The saints have a pattern in Paul for a comparison to their own shepherds as well (17 cf. II Cor. 11:15). We all must show a desire for progress in both doctrine and life. 

His warning of verse 18 still stands. Those who live as enemies of Christ and his church, are evidenced by four things here, even if not exhaustive, they are still high in Paul’s thought in this context. Firstly, and perhaps ironically, is their end (19a). Despite what they say or claim to hope for, their actions betray themselves to be those headed for destruction (cf. Rom. 9:22). These are also those “whose god is their belly.” (19b) These are those who see the ‘ministry’, so called, simply as a means of gaining beyond what one needs, to satisfy wants, like gluttony (cf. I Tim. 6:5). Thirdly, what could have been their glory, will be their shame, in fulfillment of prophecy of their corruption (cf. Hos.4:7; Mal. 2:7-9).

The one thing that separates the elect from the reprobate is the fact that the former have their citizenship in heaven. We are those who know that having Christ as our Saviour, also means that He is our Lord (20). We live as ambassadors of the King of heaven and earth, while the former are unlawful illegal occupiers. We also have the sure hope that when he has put his enemies down completely, he will return to a new heavens and earth, and transfer the kingdom back to the Father (cf. Ps. 110; Is. 51:16, 65:17, 66:22; I Cor. 15; Heb. 1:1-4; II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21). There will also be a transformation of our current ‘lowly’ bodies, still suffering the effects of the fall, into our new bodies, so that bodily existence will remain part of who we are – without sin.

As noted in the previous passage, we are predestined not only to justification, but also to sanctification, complete in Christ, progressively transforming us in the here and now, and this includes the body and its usage (21). Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit’s presence, being continually cleansed in the blood of the lamb (I Cor. 6:18-20). It is precisely because the Spirit dwells within us that we detest our sins, and are given power to grow in grace. Amazingly, we shall have bodies “conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (21) One may not go to this verse first, to prove God’s absolute omnipotent sovereignty, but this is exactly what it teaches.

All of the above, Paul makes clear, he intends for the beloved – the Lord’s and thus also his (4:1). Paul’s brethren were longed-for because as he stated in 1:8, it was because of the affection of Christ, which he shared. These direct recipients were Paul’s “joy and crown.” (1) As with the Corinthians, he could boast of their fidelity in doctrine and life, following his own example (cf. II Cor. 1:14). However, one must give such evidence to the end, as perseverance is also a sign of one’s election according to grace. Not also, they were not to stand in themselves, or Paul, but ‘in Christ’ alone. Just as we stand justified in Christ alone, even so we will stand in his image complete when our journey ends, and begins anew.